Tuesday, July 6, 2010

art being lifted off of artists' sites and being placed on products, without permission

There is a disturbing trend in the art, licensing, and product design industries....stealing art for profit.

I was just told last week that some art directors have or are resorting to stealing art, lifting it from other small time artists' sites, to place on their line's products...would you want to buy products from a company, knowing that they lifted it from someone else's site, off of the site of someone who drew, created, painted that image, and possibly took weeks to create that image, that art?  I was also told that Walmart, to their credit, refuses to steal other's art, and has reemed art directors and the like who come to them with stolen art, when being presented with product with intellectual property, creative works like art, illustrations, patterns, etc., to the buyers of Walmart.

What about contests that companies hold, where art/design students win, with lifted images off of other peoples' sites? That's happened to me. A woman in the UK, a design student, lifted an image off of my site, and won a contest with a company that I will not mention for legal reasons, and that company ran a contest for students to submit designs for a packaging and product design.  Nothing against the UK, I LOVE the UK, and it hurts bc it is one of my fav countries and I love the people.  And lifting happens ANYWHERE in this world, as we all know, just so happened that this lifting was done overseas. 

Funny how I sent that same image to their then buyer, 8 months after creating it in October 2001, and I love how these buyers "keep your work on file for future reference...really?

Anyway, I found out that it was lifted off of my site, bc I belonged to this co's mailing list online, and saw my image one day, replicated over and over again, all over the outer packaging and the bottle/container packaging. Killed me everytime I went into one of my favorite touristy, boutique shops withing 100 mile radius and saw the item. It's weird bc from a yr before that, I saw mysterious site stats showing someone from that region, looking at that image, for like a week. The interesting thing was that that image was for my boyfriend at the time's neighbor's dog Queenie, and his photo, and the image was on a frame. I put it up on my site around 2002, and redid it, shown on various frames and whatnot over the next 2-3 years, thinking, "Ok, it's not the greatest graphic, but, I will redo it...eventually." Proves that even garbage, not up to snuff art gets lifted, I guess. I guess our doodles on paper, while waiting on the phone for customer service calls are up for lifting too. Even as recently as last month, I pointed it out to my boyfriend, seeing the item in a christmas shop, selling the thing, even though it was discontinued, I still find it in places. Well, thank goodness for http://www.archive.org/ because they record any and all objects, jpgs, webpages that have ever been uploaded to the internet, and I have backup, showing my image being uploaded as early as 2002.

There is RAMPID stealing and lifting in the art school student community, too. About 17 yrs ago, a guy was thrown out of my art school for a)lifting images off of other students interior design projects and b)having other students do his work for him. Can you imagine? Unbelievable.